Does each region have enough of an identity?

  • meisterz39's Avatar Anduin 325 355 Posts Joined 06/03/2019
    Posted 6 days, 22 hours ago

    In light of the recent Demon Hunter and Priest revamp news in Hearthstone, and the fact that MTG has never introduced a sixth color to its wheel, I've been thinking about whether or not LoR's regions have clear enough identities. Ultimately, I think the answer is no, they don't have enough identity.

    The stated Riot philosophy is that every card should be playable in at least one deck, and I think you see a lot of that reflected in the ways that certain region pairs combine to form themes. Some examples:

    • The Shadow Isles and Noxus pair has access to a Spiders deck
    • The Freljord and P&Z pair has access to a Poro and/or Elnuk Cloning deck
    • The Demacia and P&Z pair has access to a Big Spells deck
    • The Freljord and Noxus pair has access to a Crimson Self-harm deck

    The result is that a lot of the theming seems to have been done primarily at the "region pair" level, and it makes less obvious combinations of those same regions clumsier. Yes, regions have their some of their own dedicated mechanics (e.g. Demacia has Tough Elites, Freljord has Frostbite, Ionia has hand buffs etc.), but those mechanics don't generally pair in interesting ways across regions. Because so much of the work of theming has been done at the "region pair" level, many of the decisions on how to pair a region feel forced and ultimately deck-building is less interesting and more paint-by-numbers.

    By contrast, when you look at a game like MTG (which is probably the best comparison, because you can mix/match colors there like you can regions), you see primary and secondary themes for colors, and players are left to mix and match those colors to get to useful synergies. I can very easily build a Black/White deck that emphasizes token creatures for a more go-wide aggressive strategy, and I can create a Black/White deck that uses hard removal and AoE to control the game. Yes, there are multi-color cards that tend to emphasize shared themes, but even in those you see variety. Taking Blue/White as an example, you see cards that emphasize the shared enchantments and artifact subtheme of those colors, but you also see cards that emphasize the smaller fliers theme that they share. This leaves players with a lot of freedom to decide which colors to run, and how much of any primary or shared themes they want to emphasize in their deck.

    Ultimately, I think this problem will only get more muddled in LoR as they introduce more regions. The reason other major CCGs have been so reticent to add new classes, colors, etc., is because you have to divide up the game mechanics pie into smaller pieces, which ultimately makes the archetypes more prescriptive and hinders creative deck-building. LoR seems to have started at a place of fairly prescriptive deck-building already, so cutting that pie up could do a lot of damage.

     

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  • BlueSpark's Avatar 125 144 Posts Joined 01/27/2020
    Posted 5 days, 23 hours ago

    That's a pretty interesting question. I agree that for a lot of deck archetypes, two regions immediately spring to mind. But I'm not sure if that puts the game in such a bad spot. Plus there are a lot of inventive players out there who come up with new spins on tried ideas.

    Like how Spiders are included in Shadow Isles and Noxus, but one of the most favorite Spider decks uses Demacia with Dawnspeakers. Or how Fiora decks seem to combo naturally with Ionia, but I'm currently running a Fiora & Ashe deck with Frostbite effects quite successfully (unranked, though). And I'm fairly confident that you can construct big-spell decks around Lux and Karma instead of Heimerdinger, too.

    I guess if too much of each region's identity ends up being tied up in specific two-region-combo decks, then that would hurt the creative deckbuilding potential. But I don't see any reason to panic yet. In my opinion, we should hold off at least until the 1st expansion releases.

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  • Marega's Avatar 280 393 Posts Joined 05/28/2019
    Posted 5 days, 22 hours ago

    Untrue. A lot of regions combo in ways u would never think of. Ezrael now combos fantastically with Noxus. Its also a great deck to combo with karma. Frostbite decks with ashe and katarina are seriously underrated and not even sen in meta lists despite its great matchup vs elusive decks. 

    Identity wise theres a lot of ot for each region so ifk wtf ur talking about not to mention theres practically a way to play aggro or midrange controllish for every region.

    Remember to keep up with the game cause the meta switches heavily each week and takes a serious overhaul with each nerf buff.

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  • meisterz39's Avatar Anduin 325 355 Posts Joined 06/03/2019
    Posted 5 days, 21 hours ago
    Quote From Marega

    Remember to keep up with the game cause the meta switches heavily each week and takes a serious overhaul with each nerf buff.

    Respectfully, I do think I do a pretty good job keeping up with the game. I'm an active player and member of these forums, I regularly check on meta lists, and I tune in to twitch semi-regularly to see what the "pros" are playing.

    Quote From Marega
    Untrue. A lot of regions combo in ways u would never think of. Ezrael now combos fantastically with Noxus. Its also a great deck to combo with karma. Frostbite decks with ashe and katarina are seriously underrated and not even sen in meta lists despite its great matchup vs elusive decks. 

    Identity wise theres a lot of ot for each region so ifk wtf ur talking about not to mention theres practically a way to play aggro or midrange controllish for every region.

    I'm not saying you can't pair less obvious region combinations, I'm saying that because themes are so built into these region pairs, and because your choice of champion dictates a lot of how you'll use the region themes, once you've picked your champions/regions, deck-building feel prescriptive. The "Noxus Ezrael" deck has replaced the "Freljord Ezrael" deck because there slower Shadow Isles control decks are gone, but that doesn't mean the deck feels all that different. You're still seeing it run a lot of single target control tools to build up to big Ezrael turns with cheap burst spells yielding direct Nexus damage.

    My point isn't that the decks don't change, my point is that the regions seem to share a lot of common themes because the guiding direction for the themes is champion/region pairs, so even when the decks change the operate in much they same way they used to. The Noxus Ezrael has a different set of control tools to slow the game down now, but that was pretty trivially interchanged and the deck operates in much the same way.

    Meanwhile, the single region themes that actually play toward the individual identity of the region are relegated in their importance. It's as though pairs come in two varieties:

    • Prescriptive pairings like the ones I originally described (i.e. the ones where they seem to have placed all the themeing work)
    • Inadvertently prescriptive pairings where in order to make one region in the pair work, a fairly generic support package from the other region is used that throws away any individual identity of that region
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  • Almaniarra's Avatar Draconically Dedicated 525 942 Posts Joined 03/21/2019
    Posted 5 days, 20 hours ago
    Quote From Marega

    Untrue. A lot of regions combo in ways u would never think of. Ezrael now combos fantastically with Noxus. Its also a great deck to combo with karma. Frostbite decks with ashe and katarina are seriously underrated and not even sen in meta lists despite its great matchup vs elusive decks. 

    Identity wise theres a lot of ot for each region so ifk wtf ur talking about not to mention theres practically a way to play aggro or midrange controllish for every region.

    Remember to keep up with the game cause the meta switches heavily each week and takes a serious overhaul with each nerf buff.

    Well, Discussion isn't about combo. I am also playing a Heimerdinger/Draven deck and also a Jinx/Elise Von Yipp Spider deck.

    He was talking about region identity and yes i believe there is some.

    For example, Noxus doesn't have access to simple card draws, There is only Trifarrian Asessor. So one of its weakness is simple card draws and you would say that healing is one of the weaknesses of Noxus aswell.


    There are some weaknesses and strengths of regions in Runeterra but you might abuse those by simply using 2 regions in a deck like in MTG. In MTG, You are also able to pass over these weaknesses. For example, While Green has no access to Flying units, you can use some with it by pairing the deck with another color. It is just like how Freljord/Ionia Elusive deck do in Runeterra.

    I don't think it will be a problem with newer regions because there are too much mechanics that could be added to the game right now. First one comes to my mind; none of the existing regions don't have access to gaining excess health. They might always add it with newer regions - I would say Targon | Shurima - and I honestly think that this is 2 of new regions' mechanic because all of mechanics find its place in at least 2 regions. So other regions surpass this when it is once added to the game.

    So Yes, There are some identitites for regions. You can't simply play an Elusive deck with Freljord/Shadow isles deck for example or you can't play a board clear centric full control deck with Demacia/Ionia. You might say Judgment or Shadow Flare here but they are conditional boardclears that you can't use always or You don't have access to enough draws with Ionia/Noxus splash which is the problem of full control Yasuo decks right now.

    I am happy with how they shaped identities in LoR. I hope they won't break those and for instance won't give so much simple card draws to Noxus etc.

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  • DoubleSummon's Avatar E.V.I.L. Dragon 625 1202 Posts Joined 03/25/2019
    Posted 5 days, 20 hours ago

    Not necessarily I don't see the pair themes of regions being restrictive..

    For example, Spiders, it's true Noxus has spider cards but you don't HAVE to play spider decks with Noxus, nor you have to play the Noxus spiders with SI, House Spider is seeing play in decks that don't even use spiders as a tribe.

    As more cards and regions get introduced those pairing might be less of an issue as you could even run mono decks of some regions or essentially mono + 3/6/9 cards (known as splash) of another region decks.

    So although some cards look to "force synergize" some combos they actually don't..

    You need some common sense for deck building too I mean currently there are 15 region combos you add one region and you then get 21 combos, they plan to add at least 3, or maybe even more (they might start adding regions into regions for example P&Z, so shadow isles might be shadow isles + void or shadow isles + demons).

    So there will be much more variety in the game and more open ended deck building..

    Just from mixing 2 regions you could try to mix and match 2 champions from each region sure a lot of combos don't make sense.. you might also want 2 champions of the same region in a deck.. rarely 3, or even 1..

    There are tonnes of options even with just the 15 available combination of regions

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  • Almaniarra's Avatar Draconically Dedicated 525 942 Posts Joined 03/21/2019
    Posted 5 days, 20 hours ago
    Quote From DoubleSummon

    Not necessarily I don't see the pair themes of regions being restrictive..

    For example, Spiders, it's true Noxus has spider cards but you don't HAVE to play spider decks with Noxus, nor you have to play the Noxus spiders with SI, House Spider is seeing play in decks that don't even use spiders as a tribe.

    As more cards and regions get introduced those pairing might be less of an issue as you could even run mono decks of some regions or essentially mono + 3/6/9 cards (known as splash) of another region decks.

    So although some cards look to "force synergize" some combos they actually don't..

    You need some common sense for deck building too I mean currently there are 15 region combos you add one region and you then get 21 combos, they plan to add at least 3, or maybe even more (they might start adding regions into regions for example P&Z, so shadow isles might be shadow isles + void or shadow isles + demons).

    So there will be much more variety in the game and more open ended deck building..

    Just from mixing 2 regions you could try to mix and match 2 champions from each region sure a lot of combos don't make sense.. you might also want 2 champions of the same region in a deck.. rarely 3, or even 1..

    There are tonnes of options even with just the 15 available combination of regions

    you and others here are confused about the difference between "synergy" and "identity".

    They are different facts.
    Synergy refers to interactions between cards that are powerful when they are combined and used together.
    Identity refers to engines that a region/class may have such as drawing cards, boardclears, single target removals etc. Even though they have some little access to some of them, it is always stronger in other classes like how Warlock can draw tons of cards while Hunter can't etc. .

    Look at hearthstone, Mage has access to beasts as well but don't have synergistic cards. You can use beasts in mage decks too but you can't synergize it well how Hunter does for example. It is the synergy. Not an engine. But for class Identity, Mage doesn't have access to weapons, (legendary weapon was an exceptation) that means you can't use weapons in Mage decks.

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  • DoubleSummon's Avatar E.V.I.L. Dragon 625 1202 Posts Joined 03/25/2019
    Posted 5 days, 19 hours ago

    @Almaniarra:

    Oh I see themes is it? and wekanesses?

    I think the regions has some of them but they are not entirely defined yet..

     

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  • Almaniarra's Avatar Draconically Dedicated 525 942 Posts Joined 03/21/2019
    Posted 5 days, 18 hours ago
    Quote From DoubleSummon

    @Almaniarra:

    Oh I see themes is it? and wekanesses?

    I think the regions has some of them but they are not entirely defined yet..

     

    Yeah, it is like;

    Identity;

    Freljord Strenghts - Drawing engine, Boardclears, Combat Disruptions, Sturdy Units, Deck Buffs, Buff spells, Ramp, Healing.
    Freljord Weaknesses - Aggressive early game, Single Target Removal, Token Generating, Direct damage.

    Demacia Strenghts - Disabling effects, Single Target Removals, Unit Protection, Attack token abuse, Temporary and Permanent buffs, Mana cheating (Rememberance/Mobility, extra win condition.
    Demacia Weaknesses - Drawing engine, Direct damage spells, Boardclears.

    Noxus Strenghts - Aggressive early game, Single Target Removals, Direct Nexus Damage, Temporary buffs, Token/card generation.
    Noxus Weaknesses - Drawing Engine, Boardclears, Unit Protection, Healing, Permanent buffs.

    Ionia Strenghts - Card Generation, Combat Disruptions, Handbuff, Unit Protection, Healing, Aggressive early game, Temporary Buffs/Units.
    Ionia Weaknesses - Boardclears, Sturdy Units, Direct damage spells/units, Single Target Removal.

    Piltover&Zaun Strenghts - Card Generation, Direct damage spells, Drawing Engine, Token Generation, Deck Disruption, Aggressive early game, Deck fattening.
    Piltover&Zaun Weaknesses - Boardclears, Temporary/Permanent Buffs, Sturdy Units, Unit Protection, Combat Disruption.

    Shadow Isles Strenghts - Token/Card Generation, Aggressive Early Game, Boardclears, Single Target Removals, Healing, Graveyard Interactions.
    Shadow Isles Weaknesses - Combat Disruption, Permanent Buffs, Unit Protection.

    "PS: I might have skipped some, I'm not a master of this topic, just sharing what I have observed."

    So as you can see here, i didn't mentioned self damage synergies for Noxus/Freljord for example or tribe synergies with Elnuk/Elites or something like that. Synergies are different topic while identity is a different one.

    If you for example give Piltover&Zaun Sturdy units + Unit protection with new cards, it will not suit its region identity and looks absurd when you saw them and may bring some other issues. So this kind of weaknesses should be surpassed with partnershipping with other regions, If you want to use Sturdy units with P&Z, You can always use Freljord splash for example. That's related with synergies at some sorts for Game-Designing philosophy but not completely same.

    Btw, I honestly think that it is more defined than Hearthstone because there are no neutral cards which means in Hearthstone, You can abuse the Identities by using neutral cards, Just put some Loot Hoarders, etc. to your Hunter deck and you have been surpassed the Drawing Engine weakness of it. It is a fair mechanic for Hearthstone because you can't pair your deck with another class.

    So for Players;

    In LoR and MTG - You should surpass region identities and weaknesses by using region partnership mechanic and combine your deck with 2 regions which shares some synergies but have different strong aspects

    In HS - You should surpass class identities and weaknesses by using neutral cards.

    For Designers;

    In LoR and MTG - You shouldn't add identity breakers to the game if you want to create a strong game-base and if you want to make all regions feel unique.

    In HS - You shouldn't add identity breakers to the classes if you want to create a strong game-base and also you shouldn't add too powerful neutral version of some identical cards if you want to make all classes feel unique.

    If you won't do those, There is no meaning of different classes'/regions' existence.

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